Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
One year ago this week, we wrote about a company called mSpot and its quest to dethrone music service titans like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes/iCloud by combining everything they all do into one unique package. Samsung acquired mSpot earlier this month, and already, we’re seeing what the electronics giant has planned for its acquisition — you know, just like Facebook and Instagram.
Today announced Samsung Music Hub, which it calls “the first completely integrated, all-in-one mobile music service,” which runs on 7Digital’s music catalog and API, with a user interface and features from mSpot. Samsung Music Hub “initially” launches today in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK for the Samsung Galaxy S III Android smartphone (update below: U.S. will be next). Users of that device can download it directly, now, and it will soon be available on other platforms too.
Regardless of where they are, users will need to pay in order to use the neatest parts of it, though; the free version is fairly limited, and doesn’t even have radio, from what we can tell. But Samsung’s right that by building on mSpot (our exclusive), it’s offering something the other big players don’t: a combined music locker, radio, music store, and unlimited subscription — and it does so not only on the smartphone but Macs, PCs, televisions, Android devices, iOS devices, etc.
“When you ask yourself, ‘what do I want to listen to?’ there is now one simple answer, for every mood, every place and everyone,” said Samsung Electronics Media Solution Center senior vice president TJ Kang in a statement. “With the new Music Hub, we’re bringing the joy back to music — listening, collecting, and sharing.”
“We believe that today’s mobile market must have an open mobile music system — one that offers all kinds of services across different devices. Music Hub removes all the barriers to your music,” added mSpot CEO Daren Tsui. Tsui sold mSpot to Samsung earlier this year; Samsung Music Hub, launched today, is largely built on that.
Samsung Music Hub includes a music store and cloud locker for keeping the stuff you buy from there. If you subscribe (presumably for $10/month if the service launches here), you get 100GB of online storage, which should handle most music collections, as well as millions of songs and ad-free radio that can be powered by a mix of your own music and everything in the online catalog. It also comes with offline playback so you can listen to all of this without burning up your data plan, and has been optimized to work with these Android devices specifically (sometimes an issue).
Over 19 million songs are available in the music store, but Samsung didn’t specify how many songs are included in the unlimited music subscription. Regardless you can fill any holes by uploading MP3s from anywhere. Also, the free version doesn’t come with radio or the ability to upload your PC’s or Mac’s collection.
We’ve asked Samsung whether it plans on allowing third-party developers to make music apps on top of Samsung Music Hub, the way they can with Rdio and Spotify, and hope to have an answer to that soon. Oh, and of course we also asked them when this thing will launch in the U.S. and other territories.
Update 1:06pm ET: A Samsung spokeswoman tells Evolver.fm that it can’t comment on the API/third-party apps plan, but that it will roll out to the U.S. next.
Here’s the full feature list from Samsung:
Music Hub Store: (free)
Offering a vast, 19 million song catalog provided by 7digital, Music Hub Store enables you to buy songs and albums, as well as listen to 30-second previews of all songs. Purchased music is stored in the cloud and automatically appears on all of your devices, while music can also be stored locally on devices for offline listening.
Music Hub Premium: (EUR /£9.99 per month [would likely translate to $10 for U.S. launch])
For EUR /£9.99 per month, you can upload and access your entire music collection anywhere, enjoy unlimited streaming from the millions of songs in the Music Hub catalog and discover new songs with radio stations based on the artists you like.
Music Hub features [premium only] include:
Scan & Match Cloud Locker: Upload your music to the cloud so you can play it anywhere. Music Hub utilizes scan & match technology to decrease upload time and ensure high-quality playback. Any unmatched songs are directly uploaded from your library so you can access rare or personal recordings (100 GB of storage for all unmatched songs). When you edit playlists or purchase music, your collection stays automatically updated across all authorized devices.
Catalog of millions of songs: Enjoy full access to our entire catalog to stream or purchase, with unlimited plays and no advertisements. Search for new music, create playlists, share songs with friends, and view lyrics and album information.
Radio: Relax and listen to the music you like with personal radio and programmed stations. Create personal stations based on songs and artists you love, or browse genre stations recommended and tailor-crafted by the Music Hub team. Hear a song you like? Tag it so you can find it later and play it again whenever you want.
Recommendations: Discover great new music all the time with customized recommendations for songs, artists, albums and radio stations. The more you listen, the better recommendations you’ll get.
Optimized for… your Samsung device: Advanced streaming and downloading options let you save storage space, play music when offline, and cut down on cellular data usage. Audio settings are designed to prolong battery life and ensure smooth streaming even under spotty network coverage.
Web Player: In addition to the mobile app, users can access their music library and the Music Hub catalog/store online at www.musichub.com. The Web Player allows users the freedom to play their music easily on any PC.
N.B.: Users must initially register on a Galaxy S III phone using a Samsung account.”